January 11, 2009

"Google are very efficient but their primary concern is to make searches fast and that means they have a lot of extra capacity that burns energy."

And I are sick of your greenhouse gasbaggery.

52 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Why even add that nonsense about burning energy. Why not just say that they are efficient and want to be more efficient and let everyone reach their own conclusion? Stop assuming that your readers are all dunces.

It is interesting that two google searches could make a cup of tea. That's an interesting way of looking at things. I wonder how many teapots this particular comment could boil?

heywoot said...

I wonder if the author actually calculated the number of BTUs required to boil a cup of water. If so, where is the equation? What was the starting temperature of the cup of water? Did he take it to 100 degrees C, or like the Japanese, stop at 99C?

I like my cup of tea to cool before I drink it. As it sits, it gives back heat energy into my house. It is comforting.

Pastafarian said...

This argument seems penny-wise and pound-foolish -- if a Google user had instead used a less-efficient search engine, he'd probably remain online much longer and use much more energy than he did by using Google.

It's a little like the goofy argument that it's more efficient, in terms of total energy used or in terms of minimizing total CO2 produced, to purchase and drive a $30,000 hybrid than it is to purchase a $12,000 conventional 4-cylinder subcompact.

The hybrid costs more because more manufacturing "effort" went into its production. Nickel for the batteries is mined in Canada (reducing vast tracts of Canada to a lunar landscape), shipped to Japan in giant freighters, and shipped back to the US. In the end, the hybrid's very small advantage in mileage won't make up for its higher initial cost (in terms of energy or money -- they're equivalent). That's why they have to be subsidized with tax credits.

Not that it really matters -- CO2 is a trivial component of climate, compared to that big ball of nuclear plasma in the sky. I'd like to go on record as having been a AGW "denier" since its inception -- I'm sure that many former adherents will be bailing off of that bandwagon in droves, now that their "scientific consensus" is unraveling.

Michael, AlphaLiberal, Montana Urban Legend -- please continue to defend your absurd hypotheses to the bitter end.

Michael S said...

Great, now we have Google Warming to add to the list of evils.

Althouse might need to turn off comments. Some of those pre-election comment threads may have had carbon footprints as big as Al Gores's house.

AllenS said...

I'd like to throw a shoe, or my carbon footprint at Physicist Alex Wissner-Gross.

Michael H said...

I'm freezing my ass off this morning. Everyone, please google a bunch of stuff and help bring winter to an early close.

Bissage said...

Performing two Google searches from a desktop computer can generate about the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea, according to new research.

That's okay.

I never exhale when searching with teh Googles, anyway, so it all pretty much evens out.

bearbee said...

What are/were the Google/Internet tradeoffs? Instead of Googling for information I jump in the car or take public transportation to the library to do research? I use a phone to gather information?

BTW, does anyone besides me wonder how much greenhouse gases are emitted when Hollywood makes a movie in which it blows up things or crashes cars which blow up and burn? I always imagine that while I diligently recycle and conscientiously curb my energy consumption and wasteful ways, they in one single scene more than offset me.

Bob W. said...

Every time I search for the ultimate, full length, Kim Kardashian movie via google, I now envision a polar bear cub stranded alone on a shrinking ice floe in the ever-warming North Atlantic. . .

dbp said...

Google server farms use lots of electricity--which is why they like to site them places with cheap electricity. It used to be that aluminum plants were built in the Pacific Northwest because of abundant hydro and nuclear energy. Now it is server farms for the same reason.

But

As I understand it: Servers use energy when they are on and it doesn't change their use (much if any) when requests are sent.

AJ Lynch said...

I am a no good energy waster I guess. I am on the internets, watching the Eagles pre-game without the sound, listening to a Macy Gray CD on my new Bose, have not gone outside yet so my Christmas lights are still on and my Inquirer is laying in the driveway. Oh and I just set the heat to a nice and toasty 70 degrees.

After reading this heartbreaking story, I may abstain from doing the googles while my coffee is brewing. But Later I have to get in the car and drive to the liquor store to stock up for the games. Is that OK?

Expat(ish) said...

Let's assume that these calculation are accurate - even though they are certainly off by an order of magnitude in either direction.

I would ask a different if I were concerned about living a "carbon neutral lifestyle." (puke)

I would ask: what activity does the google search replace? If it replaces using a fair trade trowel to turn home-mulched organic locavore green hummus (Zohan moment) gardens over, well, that is a net negative. But if you're looking for Kim Kardashian's movie instead of going skiing, well, net positive.

Not that it matters, but when will people pay attention to the dismal science instead of being dismal scientists?

-XC

Big Mike said...

I'd rather British physicists give up boiling water for their tea than I give up my Google searches.

al said...

As I understand it: Servers use energy when they are on and it doesn't change their use (much if any) when requests are sent.

We have some large server farms at work (no where near as large as Google but 400+ servers each). There is a significant difference in power consumed when the server is idle and when it is running with all cpus/cores at 100%.

There is some interesting technology coming from virtualization companies such as VMWare that will consolidate virtual servers to as few physical servers as necessary and shut off the unneeded physical servers in low usage periods (nights and weekends for a lot of businesses) to help save power. That won't help Google but it will help other businesses.

reader_iam said...

What I want to know is, how come everyone isn't switching to sun tea?

How self-indulgent and impatient can one be, really.

montana urban legend said...

"Michael, AlphaLiberal, Montana Urban Legend -- please continue to defend your absurd hypotheses to the bitter end."

My "absurd hypotheses"? I thought we were talking about one. And how is this mine, exactly? CO2 has a low heat capacity, and hence, retains heat. If you want to argue that a heat-retaining gas won't retain heat, then the burden is on you to argue why. My are you one insulated twerp.

I haven't even checked in to see what The Ringleader of The Little Nixons has been up to for quite some time, and still this is the first place where your antagonistic recognition of something within the realm of mainstream science takes you. You need to get out more. The interwebs are a big place. So is the universe of knowledge that you are so damn unfamiliar with. And as for The Ringleader herself, the only case she can pretend to make is that environmentalism and environmentalists (of which there are more and more daily, btw. Funny what saving money and not giving it to foreign autocrats will do for one's attitudes) are annoying! God forbid, science could be anything other than annoying. Talk about a whiner.

It's not the science, nor your illiteracy of it, that bothers you authoritarians. It's the idea that its uncontroversial and not seriously contested conclusions could lead to widescale changes in behavior - even when it comes to something as socially trivial and morally irrelevant as how energy is used. That's what keeps your little minds all in titters with petty objections. Feel free to defend this absurd perspective until the bitter end.

Allow me to let you in on a little secret: No one cares about this stance of yours. But the fact that you would rely on and advertise such ignorance and illiteracy in order to attempt to make it is stunning, and makes you look like a bunch of buffoons. What's next, Kirk Cameron arguing that bananas were shaped to fit into a human hand? Oh, sorry - already been done. Palin intimating that dinosaurs might have walked around a few thousand years ago? Oh yeah, that too. (I guess all the oil in Alaska must be coming from the melting snow and ice). But which side has more "gasbaggery" is the standard by which the intellectual legitimacy of a proper argument is or is not bestowed. Don't worry, your side is catching up, and looking pretty fucking stupid doing it. But I understand. That's not what bothers you.

Keep fighting the good fight against the tyranny of knowledge and rational inquiry!

dbp said...

"There is a significant difference in power consumed when the server is idle and when it is running with all cpus/cores at 100%."

Thanks for the info Al.

But if what you say is true, I think it rather undercuts the theory of the original article. If they are not counting the energy from just having the kind of excess capacity which allows fast searches, then they must be counting use caused by the search itself. A search takes, at most, a second. An electric stove might take 5 minutes with something like a 1000 Watt element. I just don't see how a search can consume that much power.

Think about it this way: Tea = 1000W times 300 seconds = 300,000 wattseconds. If a search that takes one second uses half as much then they are saying that over the course of the one second search, the rate of energy use is 150,000 watts! Count me as unconvinced.

bearbee said...

Sun tea?

I had to Google for info. Had you explained I could have saved a google and given someone an extra spot of tea.

Anyhoo, according to the CDC sun tea can facilitate the growth of bacteria.

The following rules have been recommended for those who brew sun tea:


Use a container that has been scrubbed in warm, soapy water. As an additional precaution, dip the container in a bleach solution made with 1-1/2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water.

If the container has a spigot, clean it carefully after each use, preferably by taking it apart. If you can't clean inside the spigot, don't brew sun tea in that vessel — find yourself something else to use.

Do not leave tea to brew in the sunlight for more than three to four hours.

Do not prepare more tea than you plan to use that day.

Refrigerate the drink as soon as it is ready and keep it refrigerated.

Discard tea if it appears thick or syrupy. Those ropy strands are bacteria.


Taking all these precautions should have a goodly amount of greenhouse gases flowing into the environment.

reader_iam said...

LOL.

That's what I get for being a smart ass.

reader_iam said...

Hope you're having a fun birthday, Althouse.

Michael H said...

AJL - It's okay only if you drive an SUV to the liquor store. And the liquor store is <3 blocks from home. And you leave it running while you are in the store.

AJ Lynch said...

Bearbee said:
"Sun tea? ..I had to Google for info. Had you explained I could have saved a google and given someone an extra spot of tea. "

LOL.

Michael H:

Yes it is an SUV and just over two miles. Plus I have to speed and waste gas to get back before the second half starts.Heh.

Did I tell you the Eagles are beating the last team to win the Super Bowl?

rhhardin said...

Idle capacity doesn't burn as much energy as capacity at work, in modern computer designs.

dbp said...

"My "absurd hypotheses"? I thought we were talking about one. And how is this mine, exactly? CO2 has a low heat capacity, and hence, retains heat. If you want to argue that a heat-retaining gas won't retain heat, then the burden is on you to argue why. My are you one insulated twerp."

MUL--such a target rich environment--where to start?

Global warming theory has nothing to do with heat capacity (whatever you think that means). In Physics, low heat capacity normally means less ability to retain heat but whatever, that isn't how global warming is supposed to happen anyway.

The Earth gets its energy from the Sun mostly in the form of visible light. It is adsorbed by the ground, which warms up. Then the ground radiates that heat in the form of lower frequency IR (heat). That IR would just go off into space, but some of it is adsorbed by water vapor, CO2 and other gases, which re-emit as even longer wavelength IR. This is radiated in all directions, so half goes on to space and half goes back to the ground. This is the greenhouse effect.

If you are going to be an advocate for some theory or other, it isn't a bad idea to actually understand the theory you are for.

There are lots of problems with the idea that excess CO2 is a hazard:

1. It isn't known that global warming would necessarily be a bad thing. What is likely is that some parts of the planet would benefit and some would be harmed--the net? Who knows?

2. The CO2 adsorption spectrum overlaps with the H2O spectrum.

3 The concentration of CO2 is already high enough to adsorb 100% of IR in its adsorption bands.

4. It isn't known that the Earth is warming beyond levels seen before industrialization.

5. The level of Human contribution to atmospheric CO2 is unclear.

theobromophile said...

How did they calculate this? Does it include the time to boot up a computer and shut it down, with the sole purpose of running two google searches? Does it involve only the energy used by the servers? How much energy will the servers use if no one uses google, or if everyone uses it all the time? As per one of the comments above, would a laptop use more energy if a slower search were performed?

If the google servers generate that much heat, why not place them in the basements of office buildings in Alaska?

bearbee said...

If the google servers generate that much heat, why not place them in the basements of office buildings in Alaska?

Or in my own basement. It would save me a lot on my heating bill.

of course what do I do in the summer?

Maybe they can develop mini portable servers?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

if a Google user had instead used a less-efficient search engine, he'd probably remain online much longer and use much more energy than he did by using Google

OR....we could be really flagrantly wasteful in our use of energy and not "green" (gag me). I'll just hop into my 72 Blazer with a big block V-8 and drive to the library, where they have a huge building heated day and night and where they have several employees who also drive their own massively wasteful SUVs to work in the snow. The amount of CO2 expended to have actual books on the shelves, not to mention the OMG energy used to build the shelves out of wood...killing the pooooorrrr treeeees!!! (Hippies sobbing in the woods). The fumes and destruction from the chain saws to cut the trees, the diesel to transport to the mills and turn to pulp and ......you get the picture.

I bet the amount of energy expended above is just a bit more than enough to boil water for tea. The reality is that they really don't care about being "green". They just want civilization to stop and go backwards to a primitive state. Well, except for themselves, of course. Someone has to maintain the altar of environmental wackism.

Green gassbaggery indeed. The more they go on with this stupidity and attempts to micromanage our lives in the name of "green" (barf) carbon footprint propaganda, the more I'm tempted to burn plastic items in my trash burn barrel.

Pastafarian said...

MUL: "My "absurd hypotheses"? I thought we were talking about one."

The first was "global warming"; then after it started to get colder, this morphed into "climate change".

MUL: "CO2 has a low heat capacity, and hence, retains heat."

LMAO. You sprinkle your comment with insults ("insulated twerp", 'illiterate', etc.), and boast of your super-scary superior knowledge of science, when you don't even know the popularization of the underlying mechanism of this very real, but very small, effect, let alone the actual theory.

You have beclowned yourself. Crawl back to HuffPo, find a nice, long post by Barbara Streisand, and masturbate to it til you go blind.

montana urban legend said...

I don't know exactly what your background is in and level of expertise other than the vaguely stated "biotech" and "technical service", dbp, but the idea that disseminating knowledge and precise facts amounts to "advocacy" is a pretty unique way of looking at science, and one you betray by sprinkling your anecdotes with normative assumptions (and challenges) such as these:

"My "absurd hypotheses"? I thought we were talking about one. And how is this mine, exactly? CO2 has a low heat capacity, and hence, retains heat. If you want to argue that a heat-retaining gas won't retain heat, then the burden is on you to argue why. My are you one insulated twerp."

MUL--such a target rich environment--where to start?

"Global warming theory has nothing to do with heat capacity (whatever you think that means). In Physics, low heat capacity normally means less ability to retain heat but whatever, that isn't how global warming is supposed to happen anyway."

Thank you for summarizing my point and clarifying it for the benefit of the illiterati. As for "isn't how global warming is supposed to happen anyway", you are making an unconvincing point that the materials involved in the process don't matter.

"The Earth gets its energy from the Sun mostly in the form of visible light. It is adsorbed by the ground, which warms up. Then the ground radiates that heat in the form of lower frequency IR (heat). That IR would just go off into space, but some of it is adsorbed by water vapor, CO2 and other gases, which re-emit as even longer wavelength IR. This is radiated in all directions, so half goes on to space and half goes back to the ground. This is the greenhouse effect.

If you are going to be an advocate for some theory or other, it isn't a bad idea to actually understand the theory you are for."

I might say the same for yourself. For you to mention "adsorption" (which has to do with two physical substances adhering to one another and not with "absorption" of energy) in the same breath as all the substances which you claim to magically not absorb (or absorb all of that) energy is to attempt a really half-assed explanation. IR radiation is the process by which heat is transferred. It describes the energy wavelength in the spectrum of heat transfer on an atomic level and has nothing to do with how much heat a given substance will accept or, failing that, give off.

"There are lots of problems with the idea that excess CO2 is a hazard:

1. It isn't known that global warming would necessarily be a bad thing. What is likely is that some parts of the planet would benefit and some would be harmed--the net? Who knows?"

This is a political and subjective statement. No one is talking about harm or benefit - except for the squids dominating this comment board who can't separate out those subjective considerations from any technical considerations.

"2. The CO2 adsorption spectrum overlaps with the H2O spectrum."

You will have to clarify what you are trying to say here. But as I said above, use of a seemingly improper term here such as "adsorption" seems to challenge any good-faith assumption that you know what you are talking about.

"3 The concentration of CO2 is already high enough to adsorb 100% of IR in its adsorption bands."

Why are you shifting from an obscure discussion of IR to one where the ability (or lack thereof) of a substance to retain heat is the relevant consideration?

"4. It isn't known that the Earth is warming beyond levels seen before industrialization."

Again, significance? This is not an argument against CO2 and warming as a chain of cause and effect, but an argument of a matter of degree. That might be important to those so obsessed with the impact of the phenomenon on human responses that they have abandoned the discussion of the phenomenon itself, but it is not the relevant discussion.

"5. The level of Human contribution to atmospheric CO2 is unclear."

With a statement like this, it's not clear that you'll get a finding that you'll ever find clear enough. If it is your contention that the industrial revolution hasn't led to human contributions of CO2 that far exceed those of any other source prior to, say, 1800, then I think your argument is with history at least as much as it is with science.

montana urban legend said...

It appears as if the lost character from "This is Spinal Tap" is soiling his makeshift diapers over his confusion that the development of scientific ideas are part of a dynamic process and are constantly subjected to challenge, change, and reinterpration. He is irrelevant to the discussion that only dbp is capable of even attempting to have here. He can talk about masturbation all he wants, and would seem to be expert in the subject, as that describes his style of conversation - and, from the appearance of his avatar - his grooming and domestic habits.

Now go keep sharpening your political axe with the insipid insults. They have no role in the relevant discussion here, and you know it. If they make you feel better about your tiny penis and lackluster social life, I understand. But that's not the point.

Speaking of which, I'll probably be out for a while, dbp. But I'll check back in to see if you want to respond to the comments I posted back to you, and not to the irrelevant illiterati.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What I want to know is, how come everyone isn't switching to sun tea?

Because right now I would have a jar full of frozen water with some tea bags suspended in the middle of the jar somewhere. Actually, that would be a pretty neat piece of performance art.

In reality? Why not sun tea? I've made it for years since my hippie dippie days, but you'd better drink it all up right away otherwise it is full of bacteria and becomes cloudy, icky and pretty much toxic.

dbp said...

Okay, MUL. Replace the "d" with a "b" and address the arguments I actually made.

I freely abmit I cannot spell, but people dislike cretins more than they dislike bad spellers, in my experience.

If you want a more complete record of my scientific background, go to pubmed and search for Pecchia AND Burke.

John said...

The Brits, or many of them, refer to corporations as plural entities. It's not a grammatical error; just a difference in usage (although one that may be disappearing).
The sentence you quoted is more correct than typical American usage because it joins "Google" with "are" and "they". Many Americans would jumble that sentence by saying "Google is" very efficient, and that "they" have a lot of extra capacity.

former law student said...

Although some power is consumed when idling, the "extra capacity" really only burns energy when it's used, because MOSFETs dissipate power only when they are switched.

And engineers have been working to reduce power consumption; in the past 20-some years, bus voltage has dropped from 5 to 1.5V (which should be a 90% reduction in power if I have done the math properly).

traditionalguy said...

Hown many BTU's can dance on the head of a pin? And please tell me how much it costs to buy an energy Indulgence from Pope Gore. This is a religion sprung out of Jupiter's head full grown and claiming obedience from all person who dare to use Jupiter's Air. Wait a damn minute. No one has ever owned the air I breath. My CO2 is a blessing to this Frigid planet and Al Gore's new Religion is a Lie based on Lies and told by Liars. The true tragedy is that we can never again trust any one of those Liars.

knox said...

Don't google, giggle at enviro-idiots

montana urban legend said...

DB,

I think you could agree that the strength of one's arguments should have nothing to do with being liked or disliked, and that it is foolish to imply as much.

From the three papers I saw with your name as an attributing author, I don't doubt that you have had some lab experience (as have I, and in the same field) with assaying techniques involving fluorescence resonance. (It's been a while, but I have some passing familiarity with this as well. As someone removed from cretinism, I'm obliged to state as much). So I freely admit the possibility that you may have some knowledge of the basic science behind electromagnetic radiation as a concept - perhaps more than myself, although that's a caveat based in rather generous assumptions of the capacity in which you worked in that lab when these papers were authored.

But the points I made still stand. Insofar as we are addressing a theory, it doesn't make sense to parse out meaningless distinctions between infrared radiation and heat. As I'm sure you know, infrared radiation corresponds to defined wavelengths of electromagnatic radiation, which we and the lay public describe as "heat". Quanta of this spectrum of energy may be absorbed by a given molecule in the expression of an activity such as bond vibration, molecular rotation, or some other sense of motion - just like a quantum of visible light might be absorbed by a specific molecule in the form of the elevation of one of its electrons to a higher energy state. And therefore we can assign different materials different characteristics w/r/t their interaction with these forms of electromagnetic radiation. Charcoal, a black substance, absorbs quite a bit of light (or, if you prefer "electromagnetic radiation of the visible light spectrum" as opposed to talc - a white substance that reflects it all back. And hence with heat capacity, some materials absorb infrared radiation (heat) better than others.

As far as whether whatever theories you propose to know inside and out, distinguish between the infrared radiation (that defines heat when it is not being absorbed and stored by a substance) or not, I don't know. But further, I don't see why you would propose that they would or should. I'm not aware that the interaction of electromagnetic radiation with physical substances is a very controversial matter. But perhaps I'm missing something, and if so, I hope you'll be so kind and un-cretinous as to explain just what that is.

montana urban legend said...

Edit to above:

(last paragraph, first sentence)

As far as whether whatever theories you propose to know inside and out, distinguish between infrared radiation (that defines heat when it is not being absorbed and stored by a substance) and the capacity of a substance to absorb such energy or not, I don't know.

montana urban legend said...

My apologies, dbp. I realize that in that first comment about heat capacity, I switched the terms. A low heat capacity means that something doesn't retain (or act as an effective buffer) against excess heat. You are right that this is what I had meant to say and I apologize if my words were interpreted in such a way as to invert the meaning of that relationship.

dbp said...

MUL,

What you are missing is that CO2 does not store the IR it absorbs. It re-emits it as lower frequency IR. Since this energy is emitted in all directions, half still goes out into space and half returns to the Earth.

There is no heat capacity or retention of heat involved.

The context of your, "If you want to argue that a heat-retaining gas won't retain heat, then the burden is on you to argue why." indicated that you are on-board with the whole AGW thesis. Just as my reply comments made clear I meant Absorb not Adsorb.

I consider a person a cretin when they ignore (often seemingly on purpose) obvious contextual meanings in favor of literal, but wrong interpretations. There may be a better term for this, but I am not aware of what it might be. Where is WFB when you need him? If you really didn't understand my first reply to you then I am sorry for calling you names.

montana urban legend said...

Hi DBP,

I don't think think I'm missing it. I understand perfectly well that it is the same property of the molecule that allows it to absorb the energy that also allows it to immediately emit it, thereby exacerbating its circulation throughout the system in the form of heat rather than permitting it to simply pass through. My understanding is that O2 and N2 lack a dipole moment and are pretty inert with regard to their interactions with infrared radiation. CO2 and H2O (the other byproduct of combustion), however, do not, and are therefore properly implicated in increasing a system's capacity to warm.

So you are right to assume that I am "on-board" with the "consensus", as you put it. But regardless of whether or not heat capacity was the appropriate concept to mention (and thank you for addressing that), I think you can see why such consensus has not been sufficiently challenged to reject it, even through the use of arguments that simply address the IR properties of the system.

To address another one of your objections more specifically, though, half of re-emitted IR energy would not only return to the earth and half proceed into space. With this statement you are missing the radiation that is emitted horizontally and continues through the system, exacerbating the cycle. Further, even of the "half" that does return to earth, I'm assuming that some of it would contribute still to warming the earth's surface, and eventually return to the system within the atmosphere once again in the form of thermal radiation, repeating the cycle once again. Please feel free to advise if you consider this part inaccurate, though.

No worries about earlier. I'm sorry for any misunderstandings on my part, as well.

Bruce Hayden said...

Although some power is consumed when idling, the "extra capacity" really only burns energy when it's used, because MOSFETs dissipate power only when they are switched.

I think that what you are trying to say is that modern transistors in modern computers only use power when switching state.

However, this is only part of the story. For one thing, DRAM needs to constantly be refreshed. Yes, it may take more power to change state in the middle of a refresh cycle, but how much of the memory is being changed during any given refresh cycle in comparison to the amount of memory in an average computer (or even a Google server).

Also, even when officially "idle", processors keep running, and the processors in a server are likely to keep running at a constant speed. For one thing, they are always going off to monitor this and that.

That said, I would think that the big place where there would be energy savings when a Google server were not running would be in the mechanical portions of the computer systems, notably the disk drives. It is possible to stop them spinning, but I would think that would not be realistic for Google, given the spin up times. But disk seeks are also electromechanical, and therefore generate heat, and thus burn energy. And I would suggest that disk usage is the biggest variable in energy consumption in those Google server farms. If the disks heads don't have to move to find data on the disks, then they aren't going to be burning as much energy.

Bruce Hayden said...

The short term solution is nuclear energy. If we can't do it here due to environmental wackos like MUL, then put the server famrs somewhere where we can. China has been building nuclear reactors as fast as it can. Or maybe some more Canadian hydro can be built.

In the long run though, it may be advantageous to put server farms like this in orbit. There, both energy and cooling could be nearly free. The only issue I see would then be getting the results back down here. But Google runs essentially unencrypted, and so transmitting the search results back down to earth would not be a security issue. Another problem though is the added message transit time, so lower Earth orbit may be advantageous.

dbp said...

MUL, "With this statement you are missing the radiation that is emitted horizontally and continues through the system, exacerbating the cycle."

It is a simplification to say that half goes to space and half to the Earth, but it is very close to exactly true. Here is why: When IR is absorbed and then re-emited, the emission has a lower frequency/longer wavelength and now falls outside the absorbsion spectrum of CO2. So that photon will either hit the ground (warming it a little bit) or go off into space.

On the fringes, say a photon on the shortest wavelength of the IR absorbtion spectrum may result in an emision that can be caught by the long wavelength end of the CO2 spectum. This is going to be a rare event since compared to the whole electromagnetic spectrum, the frequencies absorbed by CO2 are a very small percentage.

Plus, any of these rare events can work either way: That is, a photon which would have hit the Earth is absorbed on the way down and re-emited into space.

Another aspect of this that you might have noticed is that since the frequency is always decreased in an absorption/emision event, some energy is lost. It is an insignificant amount, but is in the form of kinetic energy. The greenhouse effect is the (in essence) reflection of IR back to Earth, not the miniscule amount of heat absorbed by the atmosphere in this process.

montana urban legend said...

Hey, Bruce, that's "Rationalist" to you. And I'm fine with nuclear so long as Luddite assholes like yourself are willing to prevent the damage to others' property and are sufficiently respectful of their rights to kindly offer your own lawn as a receptacle for the waste. But judging by your photo and intellectual capabilities, it looks like you've already done that. Thanks for helping to shoulder the burden!

A few years ago I asked a successful relative of mine what he thought of the boom in niche legal fields such as "intellectual property". He replied that he thought that most of what passes for intellectual property these days isn't intellectual and isn't property. But given your admiration for China I can see why the field suits you.

Anyway, if DBP is willing to step back into the ring, I doubt he'd deem it wack to have a serious discussion about IR and warming. But that's because his literacy prevents him from saying such stupid things.

montana urban legend said...

That's fine, DB. But if I'm not mistaken, it doesn't seem like you're contesting any of the science, rather (I assume) the quantitation of its impact, which doesn't include such other effects as the acidification of oceans, etc., etc. Further, my understanding is that kinetic energy can be converted into heat through friction.

However miniscule any of this is on an individual level, I don't understand the confidence borne of denying that it would add up.

It seems the strongest aspect of what you're saying is that IR from space would be reflected back, mitigating warming from that direction, but I'm not certain this isn't already accounted for.

dbp said...

MUL: "That's fine, DB. But if I'm not mistaken, it doesn't seem like you're contesting any of the science, rather (I assume) the quantitation of its impact,"

Bingo!

Pastafarian said...

MUL: "Further, my understanding is that kinetic energy can be converted into heat through friction."

I'm sorry, MUL, but unlike dbp, I'm not inclined to humor morons in the hope that they'll just go away.

Your first reply to my first comment was filled with vitriol and insults -- you know nothing about me, but based on my avatar, you've decided that you know more about physics than I do.

But you thought that the greenhouse effect was based on heat becoming "trapped" inside CO2, because the CO2 has such a "low heat capacity". Even after dbp attempted to explain the mechanism to you, your last comment reveals that you still don't understand.

And now you've offered up the gem quoted above. You apparently don't even understand what heat IS.

And this, folks, is an example of the scary-smart people who think that they should control everything that happens, right down to cow farts. Jesus H. Christ on horseback. This is just painfully embarrassing.

Pastafarian said...

I mean, do you think that heat is some sort of magical liquid, like the early French physicists (I think that they called this imaginary liquid "caloric")? Do you imagine that "friction" between gas molecules generates "caloric"?

Do you really not realize that the motion itself is heat? Why am I discussing physics with someone who has a 3rd-grader's understanding of it, but thinks themself some sort of great mind?

Rose said...

We have warmistas here who dutifully turn down their thermostat, and put on sweaters, and bow to AlGore, while their neighbor is operating a growhouse with a $5,000 a month + PG&E (pacific gas and electric) bill, and the grower out a few miles is dumping diesel into the creeks.

They don't see the irony. Worse, they defend the growers, who are politically correct.

montana urban legend said...

With which of these statements does Neandertharian disagree?

"Thermal energy is the difference between the internal energy of an object and the amount that it would have at absolute zero. It includes the quantity of kinetic energy due to the motion of the internal particles of an object, and is increased by heating and reduced by cooling."

"Thermal energy is the sum of sensible heat and latent heat."

"When contacting surfaces move relative to each other, the friction between the two surfaces converts kinetic energy into thermal energy, or heat."

Probably none. But it won't stop him from:

1. Lying -

"But you thought that the greenhouse effect was based on heat becoming "trapped" inside CO2, because the CO2 has such a "low heat capacity".

"And this, folks, is an example of the scary-smart people who think that they should control everything that happens, right down to cow farts."

2. Obfuscation. Failing to refute a single assertion I made, focusing instead on rather trivial and obvious mistatements that were corrected, and pretending that the mistated portions could substitute for the actual idea expressed.

3. Hypocrisy -

"Your first reply to my first comment was filled with vitriol and insults -- you know nothing about me, but based on my avatar, you've decided that you know more about physics than I do."

4. Engaging in such atrocious assaults on human speech as to earn him infamy among species that have evolved past his slack-jawed, sloping forehead, knuckle-dragging state -

"Why am I discussing physics with someone who has a 3rd-grader's understanding of it, but thinks themself some sort of great mind?"

montana urban legend said...

MUL: "That's fine, DB. But if I'm not mistaken, it doesn't seem like you're contesting any of the science, rather (I assume) the quantitation of its impact,"

Bingo!


Sounds like a rather misplaced objection for someone hoping to play around in a "rich-target environment". Not once did you mention how to quantitate effects (other than point #2), except to dispense with some obviously ridiculous objection as this:

"The CO2 adsorption spectrum overlaps with the H2O spectrum."

Which is probably precisely why they're both considered greenhouse gases - and, therefore, part of a phenomenon which you do not dispute.

I also note, for Neandertharian's sake, that you do not seem to endorse his objection to the fact that kinetic energy can be converted to heat:

"It is an insignificant amount, but is in the form of kinetic energy. The greenhouse effect is the (in essence) reflection of IR back to Earth, not the miniscule amount of heat absorbed by the atmosphere in this process."